Monday, 23 November 2015

After the Race

Fifty "Umbrella soldiers" fought for seats on the district council, seven won
The results of the Hong Kong District Council election yesterday were interesting, with some big wins, big losses and a few surprises.

Albert Ho lost his seat yesterday
The big win for Hong Kong was that of the 3.12 million people eligible to vote, 47 percent cast ballots. That's a huge jump and many believe last year's protests sparked the public's interest in democracy and taking advantage of their right to vote for those who will best represent their grassroots interests.

However the biggest shocks were two pan-democratic heavyweights who lost their seats -- The Democratic Party's Albert Ho Chun-yan, and Fredrick Fung Kin-kee of the Association for Democracy and People's Livelihood.

Junius Ho soundly unseated incumbent Albert Ho
Ho was beaten by his main rival, former Law Society president Junius Ho Kwan-yiu, who vehemently opposed the Umbrella Movement. Another reason Albert Ho may have lost is because he was caught looking at pictures of scantily-clad women on his tablet during Legco...

The next interesting observation was that the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong or DAB didn't see a rise in support, but a slight dip. Established lawmaker Christopher Chung Shu-kun was defeated by a relatively unknown "Umbrella soldier", Chui Chi-kin, which is very interesting. Chui and six other "Umbrella soldiers" won seats on the district council.

This is perhaps due to the young vote coming out in droves, rallying others to cast their ballots on Facebook. These rookies will have a lot to learn in the coming year and it will be interesting to watch them evolve from protest organizers to trying to influence policy at the grassroots level.

Gary Fan fights for localism on the district council and Legco
Then there are the NeoDemocrats, who are more radical in their beliefs, and in yesterday's elections won 15 out of 16 seats. One of them is Gary Fan Kwok-wai, who is also the group's only representative in the Legislative Council. He is very active in promoting localism, urging the government to make Hong Kong people the priority in setting policy. Fan also protested against parallel trading in the New Territories.

In Kennedy Town & Mount Davis, as expected DAB incumbent Chan Hok-fung kept his seat. It's strange Youngspiration, a party established following the Umbrella Movement would choose to contest this area when there is already a Democratic Party candidate. Why not choose a neighbourhood that isn't contested or only has a DAB politician running?

Hopefully the "Umbrella soldiers" will conduct a serious post-mortem on their performance and be more strategic about where they run and how they conduct their campaigns. Nevertheless, considering they hardly had many resources, youth is on their side and perhaps they will do better in the future.

In the meantime there are lots of questions regarding the elderly been driven to polling stations by "volunteers" and strangely given their Hong Kong ID cards after they arrived. After voting, some seniors told reporters they couldn't remember who they voted for or that they were instructed who to vote for.

Ah the drama. But in the meantime pleased to see Hong Kong's political consciousness awakened! The Umbrella Movement was not in vain after all!

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